Research in Science Education

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 453–460

Using an Informal Cardiovascular System Activity to Study the Effectiveness of Science Education in Unexpected Places

  • Elyssa Lynne Monzack
  • Greta M. Zenner Petersen

DOI: 10.1007/s11165-010-9174-5

Cite this article as:
Monzack, E.L. & Petersen, G.M.Z. Res Sci Educ (2011) 41: 453. doi:10.1007/s11165-010-9174-5


Venues for informal science education are usually those sought out by people who are specifically looking for an educational experience. Whether planning a trip to a museum or choosing a television program, these individuals are actively seeking an informal educational experience; they are a self-selected group. This paper investigates whether members of the public will respond to an informal science activity that is placed in a location where learning about science would be unexpected. This project developed and used an activity about the cardiovascular system in which participants were able to walk the path of blood flow through the heart, body, and lungs. This activity was tested in two types of settings: where science was either expected or unexpected. A non-traditional assessment method was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the activity in the unexpected versus the expected settings. Ultimately, the activity was found to be equally effective in both settings, providing evidence for success in bringing informal science education to the general population in non-traditional venues.


Assessment Cardiovascular system Embodied learning Informal science education Public science education 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elyssa Lynne Monzack
    • 1
  • Greta M. Zenner Petersen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical EngineeringUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Materials Research Science and Engineering Center on Nanostructured InterfacesUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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